You may not consider it lying. You’re just exaggerating, ‘embellishing the truth’ a bit, right? But when the interviewer delves a little deeper into your example, that’s when you’re likely to come unstuck. And it may not be your rhetoric that gives you away.
In the ‘80s, psychologist Albert Mehrabian published a study that suggested that the content of what you say only counts for 7% of your personal credibility. According to his research, a staggering 93% of communication is non-verbal: the tone of your voice accounts for 38%, and then visual clues including facial expressions, gestures and pupil dilation make up a huge 55% of your credibility rating.
We all make constant, rapid, unconscious judgements about people we’re talking to, and this certainly rings true for those that are lying about achievements on their CV. As all experienced interviewers know, most people are terrible liars, and when you probe around those obviously fabricated areas, interviewees descend rapidly into panic and incompetence. This is one of the excellent reasons why it is always best to tell the truth; it will immediately help your confidence, with a positive knock-on effect on your body language. And of course, it’s vital that you and your interview have integrity – honesty is always the best policy!
What, then, is the best way to use this information to approach interviews? Given how difficult our body language is to control, is there any point even trying?
Yes! You may not be able to control some involuntary reactions but there is a lot you can do. It’s certainly possible to train your body to behave in different ways. A great first step is to hire one of City CV’s Executive Coaches, who can guide you through the process. But if you prefer to do it yourself, here are some tips:
Before the interview…
Most of us have no idea how we come across in interview; it’s why your voice always sounds like a stranger when you hear it played back to you. We have no idea about facial expressions, common expressions, tics, tone of voice or posture. Practise your interview questions in front of a mirror or, better, use a video camera, even if it’s only on your phone. Force yourself to watch it, ‘rinse and repeat’. It’s painful but effective.
Ask for feedback. A City CV interview coach would be perfect, but if you have to, make do with friends. If you have someone who is a practised interviewer, choose them: they will very likely be able to give you excellent feedback.
Prepare for some questions that you think may be asked, especially the tricky ones where you might be tempted to deviate from the truth.
Don’t sit on a deep sofa while waiting for your interview to begin. You don’t want your interviewer’s first impression of you to be struggling to get up from a low position. Pick a seat from which it is easy to rise.
When in interview, consider your posture and the mnemonic ROLE, which stands for relaxed, open, leaning and eye contact. Sit up straight and lean slightly forwards to project the impression of concentration and alert attention. Wear smart, professional clothes that mean you can breathe.
Don’t fidget! Be natural, but don’t pick at your fingernails or jiggle your legs. Some people advise fidgety types to sit on their hands, but frankly this just looks worse. Breathing deeply can help you to stay calm.
If you need help with body language, interview techniques or any kind of preparation for future interviews, City CV can help. With a talented team of professional CV writers and interview coaches encompassing over 100 years of collective experience, across a wide range of sectors, we will create bespoke interview sessions for you. To find out how we can increase your chances of interview success, call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or send an email to [email protected].